Department of Science and Technology
14 June 2019
The radio frequency spectrum exempted for use within the Karoo Central Astronomy Advantage Areas (KCAAA) has been published.
The science and technology department published the list of exempted frequency band allocations in Government Gazette 42531.
Comment on the proposed exemption was invited in November 2018 and a workshop to assist affected communities to make informed written representations and /or objections to the proposed radio frequency spectrum to be exempted was held in Carnarvon in January 2019.
In April 2019, the former science and technology minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, declared that no public hearings on the proposed exemption would be held and that the final list of exempted radio frequency spectrum would be published in due course.
The newly appointed higher education, science and technology minister, Blade Nzimande, has now published the final list of exempted frequency bands.
Within one year from 15 December 2018, the use of radio frequency spectrum from 100 MHz to 25 500 MHz (25.5 GHz) within the KCAAAs will be prohibited apart from the exempted frequencies.
All licensees and licence exempt operators will need a permit from the Astronomy Management Authority in order to continue operating within the KCAAAs.
Meanwhile, South Africa is set to provide space weather information to the global aviation sector for the African region.
In a statement, the department announced that the Space Weather Regional Warning Centre for Africa, situated in Hermanus, has been designated to carry out this task.
The Centre, managed by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), has been designated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to monitor space weather.
It is “one of two regional centres around the world that will monitor space weather for the global aviation sector, providing crucial safety-related services such as solar storm forecasts and warnings”.
ICAO wants space weather information to form part of all flight plans in the near future.
The Centre has three years in which to build sufficient capacity to satisfy ICAO requirements and maintain the designation.
Dr Phil Mjwara, the department’s director-general, indicated that government was likely to fund the required development.
“The proposal to build SANSA’s space weather centre capacity has reached us and we are considering it; and we are almost certain that we will be funding the centre to ensure it is able to meet the requirements to become a fully accredited centre,” he said.
SANSA is to implement a training programme and roll out a quality management system to develop the necessary skills.
It will also cooperate with the Air Traffic Aviation Service, South African Weather Service, Civil Aviation Authority and other partners to implement the ICAO recommendations for Africa’s aviation sector.
In another statement, the department announced that it has “embarked on an intensive programme focusing on the development of competency-based norms and standards in the domain of African traditional medicine, starting with four categories of indigenous knowledge practitioners, namely, sangomas, inyangas, traditional birth attendants and traditional surgeons”.
The statement follows the inaugural Traditional Birth Attendants Conference, recently held in Durban.
The Conference was held in response to traditional birth attendants’ demand to be recognised by government as champions of indigenous knowledge (IK).
Reference was made to the Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Bill, passed by parliament in March 2019 and currently awaiting president Ramaphosa’s signature.
According to the department, the proposed legislation provides for the recognition of the competencies of IK holders and practitioners such as traditional birth attendants.